The Travel Agents Association of India has warned its agents and passengers of fake agents who sell tickets at a cheaper rate and make money by cancelling it before the date of travel.
Recently,a specific case was brought to our notice. A couple had purchased tickets to the US at a bargain for a lakh. When they went to airport,they realised that the ticket was not valid and that it had been cancelled. Although a police complaint was lodged,the fake agent had escaped. Passengers are always looking for a cheaper deal,but they should check the authenticity of the agent before making the purchase, said Rajesh Rateria,chairman,Travel Agents Association of India,Western Region.
The western region travel agents association has issued a circular to its members alerting them of this trend and asking them to not sell tickets on credit to unknown agents.
In a letter sent to its 3,500 members,the travel agents association said,We have received reports about people who are duping passengers and travel agents alike. They give advertisements in newspapers and local dailies about being a travel agent and offer cheap fares which no genuine agent or airline can offer. These agents purchase the tickets on credit from a IATA travel agent. Passengers go buy such tickets from these advertising agents for a travel plan at a much latter date. The agent collects cash upfront from these passengers. Then they go refund the ticket to the IATA agent. The agent is ofcourse absconding and the traveller loses the entire money.
Rateria said that the association had seen a rise in many fradulent travel agents over the last few months. Warning travel agents,the letter adds: In many such cases,the accredited travel agent had to contend with refunding the ticket and bearing the cancellation charge themselves as they could not locate the agent later on.